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Genital Herpes - Home Treatment

To reduce discomfort from herpes sores:

  • Take warm sitz baths or wash the area with warm water 3 or 4 times a day.
  • In between sitz baths, keep the sores clean and dry.
  • Using a hair dryer to dry off the sores may be more comfortable than using a towel.
  • Wear cotton underpants, which absorb moisture better than those made from synthetic material.

Nonprescription medicines, such as aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil), may reduce the pain and fever from genital herpes.

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Genital Herpes Testing

One in five Americans has genital herpes, but many don't know it because the symptoms can be mild or even absent. Genital herpes is usually spread by sexual contact and caused by the type 2 herpes virus (HSV-2). However, the type 1 herpes virus (HSV-1), which more commonly causes cold sores, can also infect the genitals -- usually through oral sex. There's no cure for genital herpes. Once infected, you're infected for life. Herpes is most often spread from active sores. But you don't have to have...

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To lower the risk of recurrent outbreaks, reduce or avoid things that trigger outbreaks, such as fatigue, stress, overexposure to sun, and irritation of the genital area.

Coping with your feelings

Finding out that you have genital herpes may cause you to have negative thoughts or feelings about yourself or about sex, such as:

  • Feeling ashamed or embarrassed.
  • Being afraid of the consequences of the infection.
  • Being angry at the person who infected you.
  • Feeling frustrated with treatment or recurrent outbreaks.
  • Feeling scared to have sex.

A counselor or support groups for people with herpes may be helpful.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 20, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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